The ebb tide is when the tide is going out to sea. The sea is draining, the water is emptying from the shore but to where? It’s a crazy thought to think that at one point the tide is so high and the water so deep, then over the course of approximately 6 hours, the water is gone, dispersed to another part of the world. Gravity has pulled it away and I suppose it’s high tide on the other side of the sea.
There’s a time between the tides, perhaps the end of the ebb, where the tide lags before it starts to come up again. My mind has a funny way of reflecting on the ebb-tide phenomenon, particularly when the tide is completely out to sea. Sometimes I find that I am at the end of the ebb This sence of self is particular strong at this current season of life since I am no longer financial contributing to our family for the first time in 30 years. My kids are grown, the youngest is entering her senior year in college and I’m sort of waiting for the next tide.
Some of my friends have moved onto the next phase of life, children getting married and becoming grandparents. I’m not there yet, but part of me looks forward to that time in my life. But, I have to remind myself not to rush through or wish this time away. This time is actually pretty amazing. The worries of raising children have shifted. I’m older and more secure in my understanding of life. My faith has not been tested and hopefully as the trials of life come my way, I will be firmly rooted and able to withstand what lies ahead.
The challenge is to enjoy where you are now. It’s important to appreciate this time when your relationship with your kids is on a different level, perhaps less nurturing and more encouraging. Perhaps it’s less judgmental and more understanding of their perspective. If you’re married, and it’s just the two of you, there’s more time to establish or reestablish that relationship.
We’ve weathered many high and low tides during the process of raising children. It’s important to remember that your life, your family may be different than others, and that is what is so unique. I remember a conversation with my mother-in-law. I don’t recall the exact trigger of the conversation, but the outcome is what I remember the most. When it’s all said and done, if you could trade places with someone else, swap families, would you? Who would you choose? The answer, most likely is you’d stick with what you have. Your family. We don’t need to be at the same place as our friends. We’re all in a new phase of life heading in different directions.
What I want most is for my kids to feel secure and confident in being the young adults they have become. And as for me, I am very grateful that I have this time to explore other options and opportunities that may come my way as I allow myself to be a little brave and to plunge into the deep sea, every once and awhile.
Embrace the ebb. It’s when you find the best shells. (Shell Seekers, One of my favorite books, by the way)